Standard Operating Procedures in OneNote - Best Method?

Copper Contributor


I've been in business for over 18 years, with 6 employees.  We have over 300 policies and procedures that have been written and rewritten.  They have always been stored on our Sharepoint server in a regular file folder structure that syncs to our computers.  Because of it, nobody uses them for they are difficult to find.  Sometimes you don't know the name of what you're looking for, other times its an SOP that could be under production or finance.  The system has just never worked.


I'm currently implementing a system in OneNote.  I have it set up where our 9 primary areas are all tabs.  There then exists sections for checklists, specific procedures, and then one large 20-30 page manual for that department that discusses in detail everything that needs to be known.


An example is in the 23-page Marketing Manual, there are five paragraphs explaining what brand colors are, why they are important, and why we can't stray from them.  It then has a few links to reference other documents, one of them is our Branding Sheet that is a Word document, stored inside OneNote.


OneNote is also great because it's desktop software that each of our computers has, every single document can be searched at once, you can utilize links to any part that you'd like, you can utilize tags, and you can store the referenced document inside OneNote (so I don't have to deal with somebody changing the file name or somehow breaking the link to the server.  I haven't released it yet, but my employees say they would use it if it were easy.


As I'm slowly going through and entering the SOPs into OneNote, I'm finding minor issues with my system in OneNote

  1. The formatting is VERY limited.  So making a great SOP is not as easy as it is in Word
  2. Once I have everything in there, I dont think I can get it back out in an editable fashion.  I can print the .pdf but it's not like it's a Word document that can be moved around
  3. You can't really set permissions on it.  I can lock pages, which would work, but I'd prefer permission on different areas
  4. Getting everything in there is going to be challenging enough, then I have to go back and link everything.


Before I spend too much time organizing these SOPs and copy/pasting them into OneNote, I was hoping that somebody has gone down this road before and can either advise me away from OneNote to another product or offer advice as to why I should keep going down my path.


Thanks in advance.


4 Replies

@ACSkoz came across your post as I am just getting started on what sounds like exactly the same project re: OneNote and organizational SOPs. Just wondering how it's gone, and if you have any advice to share from the other side. :) 

Honestly, I still haven't figured out the best way.  The main issue with OneNote is the formatting that it won't do.  Especially when printing.


What I'm doing right now is we have most of our SOPs in Work format in an organized folder system.  We use OneNote to build them and edit, for it's quick and easy to do on the fly.  Then at some point, I'll copy/paste the newly written on or edits to the Word document.


Like I said, still not a fantastic system, but we're making it work.


Love to know how you are getting on with One Note.

Came across a product called SystemHub by Systemology.

It looks like it would be the ultimate way to do this.

@ACSkoz Hi there, I came accross your post, I too am building Mulitple one note's for standard SOP; I share some of the same grieveances. The Word Doc or PDF Print out in the one note look much cleaner, but you can't edit the document in One Note- As a Sort of "work around" If you are using word and the document is on your One Drive, instead of Inserting as a "print out" you can insert as an "attachment" so when clicking on the attachment to view it will have Live updates. Thats the only thing I have found that sort of helps; though I use the "search" function very often to locate what I need, if its not entered as a print out, I cannot utilize that function. The only application I found willl reflect updates in one note is Excel. I hope that add the functioinality to other sources as well.